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Devils Come Up Empty On, Off The Ice

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DEVILS COME UP

EMPTY ON ICE, OFF

http://www.nypost.com/sports/devils/32044.htm

By MARK (N)Єverson

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thrashers 3 - Devils 2

March 12, 2003 -- Lou Lamoriello didn't trade them, Pat Burns wouldn't play them. Scott Gomez and Oleg Tverdovsky landed squarely in the Devils' doghouse last night.

It was a day of foul portents for the Devils, whose GM first let them down abjectly by failing to upgrade his scoring.

Then Burns tightened the screws, sitting out Gomez and Tverdovsky after the deadline passed, making them look like the principals of a trade that fell through, probably when Teemu Selanne refused to come to New Jersey.

Thus inspired by management, the Devils appeared to need a trade that won't come now, turning in a disturbing performance to fall 3-2 to the out-of-it Thrashers at the Meadowlands last night.

Compounding it all, captain Scott Stevens said the team should concentrate on finishing second in the East, rather than focusing on the top seed.

"We should just think about second and go from there. We're not at the top of our game to catch [Ottawa]. But it's not out of reach yet," Stevens said.

Indications were that Lamoriello tried seriously yesterday to acquire first Selanne, then Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, Scott Thornton and Marco Sturm from San Jose, Jarome Iginla and Chris Drury from Calgary, Miroslav Satan from Buffalo and Martin Straka from Pittsburgh.

He came up empty on every front. The deal that made the most sense for the Devils, bringing in Selanne, apparently fell apart because the Finnish winger refused to waive his no-trade clause to come to New Jersey. One source said Selanne exercised that veto on several teams.

"We made the decision not to do anything because we would not have gotten any better," Lamoriello said. "A lot of people did different things today. Whether that makes them better only time will tell."

While several other teams in the Eastern Conference strengthened themselves in the final days before yesterday's trade deadline, the Devils contented themselves with adding depth with Monday's acquisitions of RW Grant Marshall and D Richard Smehlik, who replaced Gomez and Tverdovsky last night.

Gomez and Tverdovksy may have been ingredients in a deal for Selanne and/or Damphousse, who was also said to refuse a trade. Gomez was demoted to the fourth line after a glaring giveaway in Saturday's victory at Nassau.

"He has to be better. That's all," Burns said of Gomez.

The Devils weren't better without Gomez. The NHL's second-worst power play, which could have used some trade help, looked even worse without Gomez.

John Madden gave the Devils the early lead, tying the team record with his 11th career shorthander 4:30 into play, but that was the only lead New Jersey held. Atlanta's Dan Snyder used Ken Daneyko as a screen to tie the score at 12:42, his wrister from the right circle making Martin Brodeur look bad.

Lubos Bartecko put the Thrashers in front 54 seconds into the second, rebounding Chris Tamer's right point shot that fell from Brodeur's glove. Then Snyder intercepted a flubbed Brian Rafalski pass and cut around Smehlik for his second of the night. Brian Gionta cut the gap to one with 10:00 left in the third, but that was all the Devils could muster.

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Would be interesting to know if Selanne did kick in his no trade clause and nixed any Devils deal.

I personally hate players having a No Trade Clause in their contracts.

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"Indications were that Lamoriello tried seriously yesterday to acquire first Selanne, then Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, Scott Thornton and Marco Sturm from San Jose, Jarome Iginla and Chris Drury from Calgary, Miroslav Satan from Buffalo and Martin Straka from Pittsburgh. Dopey, Grumpy & Sleepy decided not to waive their no-trade clauses also."

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Indications were that Lamoriello tried seriously yesterday to acquire first Selanne, then Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, Scott Thornton and Marco Sturm from San Jose, Jarome Iginla and Chris Drury from Calgary, Miroslav Satan from Buffalo and Martin Straka from Pittsburgh.

Indications are that (N)Єverson would toss every possible name that wasn't traded out there to make Lou look bad.

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Honestly, would you guys want T.S. if he didn't want to be here? The no-trade clause lets us know whether or not he really wants to go.

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backup plan shoulda been in place. bad job by lou.

Couldn't agree more with you on that, Sundstrom.

Lou should have a backup plan in case Selanne uses his no trade clause. The backup plan could've been any of those players mentioned. It looks really bad to the fans that no trades for a scorer were made even though Lou may have tried his hardest in getting someone.

Well, I guess this is like beating up on a dead horse right now. Lou should look for a scorer in the summer. This current team won't be going too far in the playoffs this year. :(

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No one else got these players.

Did anyone stop to think that maybe they weren't available?

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who else was looking at these players? nobody but us. everyone else was done, or, in the case of vancouver, not adding anyone due to payroll constraints.

lou wasn't going against any other teams at the deadline. he put his eggs in the selanne basket and dropped it, plain and simple.

no selanne shoulda been known at noon (latest) and then we could've moved onto another. carter was dealt around 11:00, so perhaps lou gets a pass 'cause he was waiting on selanne and carter went before he could get in on it. but he shoulda then gone hard core for satan or palffy.

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This is why Lou doesnt like european players as much, the Stanley Cup means nothing to them. North American players dream about winning the Stanley Cup ever since they wear the skates and carry a stick, they grow up dreaming about the Stanely Cup. They have that drive and aspiration to win so they can lift it. Europeans dont grow up as such so it is a little different for them. Remember, usually the team that wins the cup is the one that wants it most.

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sundstrom, I hope if you have any more insider information, you'll give it to us.

It didn't make sense for LA to DUMP Palffy, or Buffalo to dump Satan! What the hell were we going to offer them that was anything close to fair value?

And I still contend it never made sense to acquire a finesse scorer for that line in the first place, but it would have been better than Gionta or Marshall, I think.

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